I am interested in the linkage between the cyclical timing of human activity, and whether that has a direct affect on weather. Most obvious to me is the weekly cycle, which is observed by most of the world.

For example, humans generally produce less air emissions on the weekends because they do not have to commute to work, and some businesses are less active. This means there are less cars on the road (or for less time) and therefore less vehicular emissions. In some cities, this can lead to an effect during the summer where ozone concentrations are higher on weekdays and reduced on the weekends. There are also instances where human activity can lead to higher particulate emissions on weekdays, which could cause weekly patterns in fog or albedo. In general, if the radiation budget is perturbed, it could theoretically affect weather.

Perhaps there are other examples too. So, is there any link between the weekly human cycle and weather?

  • $\begingroup$ This is a good question in general, but can you source humans are generally less active on the weekends. I'm not disagreeing with you, but people do travel on weekends and perform recreational activities, so I don't know if weekends = more activity, less activity, or same amount of activity (but different type of activity). Additionally, people who stay home may use more heat or AC since they're not at work all day. $\endgroup$
    – user967
    Nov 28, 2019 at 14:50
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    $\begingroup$ Here's a couple links that talk about the day of week emissions change. researchgate.net/publication/… and sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1352231018307854 $\endgroup$
    – f.thorpe
    Nov 28, 2019 at 18:32
  • $\begingroup$ In general, the total emissions are less on the weekends for large cities, and the diurnal pattern is different. This is a core understanding in the field of air quality monitoring and modeling. So, in general, I am confident that the weekday/weekend air emissions cycle exists, but I have no idea if this affects weather beyond localized aerosols scattering light. $\endgroup$
    – f.thorpe
    Nov 28, 2019 at 18:38
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    $\begingroup$ It is difficult to reply. Considering CO2 as sample: The biggest actors on human air emissions are the petrol companies (35%) and the cement companies 8%. Those industries are working 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. That is 43% of the emissions and there are always there. Transportation is just 16% of the emissions, and some of it is the one that it is reducing... $\endgroup$ Dec 2, 2019 at 10:05
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    $\begingroup$ Check out the Rosenfeld and Bell 2011 paper on aerosol feedback affecting cloud, hailstorm and tornadoes formation ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20110015368.pdf $\endgroup$ Dec 13, 2019 at 6:12

1 Answer 1


Human activity can change weather locally, for example if you live in lower floors in a hotel room besides a hectic highway it would certainly be cooler whenever traffic is lower because of the combustion engines, but on other level certainly trees grow faster closer to hectic highways from car emissions of CO2 and thus provide more canopy and in some sense change the pavement habitat a little bit.. But usually one ought to think that the city exists somewhere because the weather allows it and poor human planning and projects are defeated by weather agents along the way in history.

I am sure there are other examples of local weather being affected by concrete, i.e. city formation, such as thermal inversion. But remember that the atmosphere behaves like a liquid and is constantly being moved about by hydrodynamical forces and any particles tend to precipitate or be blown away.

Not sure about what you said about ozone, though. Ozone is primarily produced by ultraviolet light from the sun. Sun ultraviolet rays hit oxygen and produce ozone so oxygen will protect humans from ultraviolet light whenever sun rays contact oxygen, not at night obviously and less in winter times.

  • $\begingroup$ In the troposphere (in other words at elevations we typically live at), ozone is generally a result of combustion rather than UV production... so when it comes to experiential weather (and keeping in mind most "active" weather is also produced in the troposphere) what he asks about ozone is a very valid topic of interest to the question, and whether it impacts weather well beyond UV levels (given the relatively low values compared to the stratosphere, tropospheric ozone is a low factor in that anyways) is a fair question. $\endgroup$ Feb 16, 2022 at 15:57

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